More Green Energy Powers Into Ontario

While eco-efforts in western Canada these days seem to be mired in tar sands, Ontario’s use of coal-fired electricity is down 90 per cent in the first three months of 2011 as compared to the same time-frame in 2003. That deeply impressive emissions-busting is due to Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, which has now begun to translate into real shifts in how the province uses energy, as well as real economic growth.

That piece of legislation, designed to foster green jobs and and bolster renewable energy sources, allows the government to purchase solar, wind and biomass power at above-market rates, on one condition: 60% of all components must be manufactured in Ontario, and 60% of the labor involved must also be provided locally. As a result, Ontario’s clean energy economy has seen the infusion of more than $20 billion dollars of investment and the addition of 13,000 jobs since the legislation passed. The province expects to see 50,000 more cleantech jobs by the end of 2012.

Solar Power, Ontario, Canada

image via Province of Ontario

Since 2009, more than 30 cleantech businesses have announced that they will be setting up or expanding plants in Ontario, including Eclipsall Energy, which will be opening a manufacturing facility in Toronto to make solar panels for the Ontario market before expanding across the North American market in 2012.  The solar panels produced at this plant are expected to generate enough electricity to power about 25,000 homes on an annual basis.

Currently, Ontario has the most solar capacity online of any jurisdiction in Canada, and is home to the 10 largest solar farms in the country.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.